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Saturday, March 12, 2022

7. The Army


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The Lines

Bottom. [9] From the very beginning of a joint effort, right and justice must prevail, and the enterprise must be conducted in an organized fashion. The aim and purpose of the joint effort must be meaningful and made clear to all participants if their loyalty and enthusiasm is expected. Without this element of genuineness, the enterprise is sure to fail. The good leader, therefore, is careful to make clear to all members of the group the purpose of the enterprise and as much about how it will be conducted as is reasonable.

2. [6] He who fills the role of leadership must consider himself a part of the group he expects to lead. His fortunes are tied together with theirs and theirs with his, and he accepts responsibility for all. Only someone who can accept this great responsibility is worthy to be a leader. Whatever honors or recognition he receives is not his alone; it is bestowed upon him as the representative of the group, and each member should look upon such honors as being given to him also.

3. [6] If the leader lacks a clear vision of the group's purpose, if the members of the group are left to their own devices and have no clear understanding of where they are going or what they should be doing, misfortune is bound to result. If there is no proper leadership, if every member of the group is left to rely on his own inept or inadequate vision of the goals of the enterprise, how can it succeed? Without a unifying vision and a clear definition of means, how can a difficult objective be achieved? Uncertainty leads to wasted effort and time lost, and is a sure way for a concerted effort to become unraveled.

4. [6] Retreat is not a disgrace when one is up against impossible odds or an unbeatable foe. Rather, to continue to struggle against such insurmountable difficulties suggests a stubbornness or a failure to carefully calculate the chances for success, and this could only lead to a great catastrophe. But a carefully planned retreat saves the enterprise, avoids catastrophe, and opens the possibility for a renewed struggle at a later time when a more favorable outcome may be expected. A leader who continues in the face of certain defeat just to avoid the appearance of cowardice is not strong but is weak, because he is being guided by fear and a misplaced sense of honor, rather than an intelligent and responsible assessment of the situation. The important thing is the goal of the enterprise, not a mere appearance.

5. [9] The leader of a group should be a man of thorough experience and vision. If a younger man with little experience who lacks a clear understanding of the problems that lie ahead is put in charge, all of the effort, which should be carefully directed, will lead to misfortune. Without a unifying vision and a central command, the element of danger which is inherent in any mass of people can easily surface, allowing the enterprise to get out of hand and people to indulge in destructive behavior. If uncontrolled, the struggle becomes a mob action and the purpose of the struggle degenerates into whatever each member thinks it may be. This is a prescription for chaos and disintegration.

Top. [6] When the end has been achieved, when the struggle is finally over, all those who aided the effort should be rewarded generously. But it is important that even faithful helpers not be given rewards and responsibilities of which they are not worthy. Let inferior helpers be rewarded with material gifts, but not with positions in which they may do harm and undermine the whole purpose of the struggle.

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